The issues of consolidation in construction arbitration
Produced in partnership with Mayer Brown

The following Construction practice note produced in partnership with Mayer Brown provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • The issues of consolidation in construction arbitration
  • Multi-party/multi-contract disputes
  • Parallel proceedings
  • Avoiding parallel proceedings in arbitration
  • Contractual arbitration agreements
  • Arbitration rules
  • Applicable law

The issues of consolidation in construction arbitration

This Practice Notice looks at how multiple causes of action can be consolidated and dealt with by means of a single arbitration, focusing on construction disputes. See also Practice Note: Multi-party and multi-contract arbitration—an introduction.

Multi-party/multi-contract disputes

Construction disputes often involve more than two parties. It is common for an employer to enter into a construction contract with a main contractor, who then sub-contracts different parts of the works to a number of sub-contractors. The result is that multiple, interconnected construction contracts are in place between various different parties on one project.

In the event of a dispute, there may be many potential causes of action under the various contracts. A single dispute may involve the employer, the contractor and a number of the sub-contractors, suppliers and consultants.

If all the contracts are subject to the jurisdiction of the court, this is easily managed by the Civil Procedure Rules and the court will ensure all the related claims are joined ('consolidated') into the same proceedings. However, where some or all of the contracts contain an arbitration agreement, the court or tribunal cannot do so without the parties' consent. This can give rise to more than one set of proceedings addressing the same underlying issues. These are often referred to as parallel proceedings.

Parallel proceedings

There are two obvious disadvantages of parallel proceedings. The

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